Human remains found along Des Plaines River

May 20, 2009 9:08:33 PM PDT
Police discovered skeletal remains on the Des Plaines River bank near rural Channahon on Wednesday afternoon.While it's too soon to determine the identity, investigators who've been working on the disappearance cases of Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic were at the scene.

ABC7 learned the remains were found within a mile of where a resident discovered a blue barrel.

The remains were found on the river bank and the barrel was found in the Des Plaines River near southwest suburban Channahon.

The big question is who is it?

State Police removed the remains by boat five hours after a river clean-up crew came across the badly decomposed body along the side of the Des Plaines River.

"They said they found a body. Pretty hard to determine the gender but they think it was a female," said Ben, bar owner.

Just a few nights ago, Ben told the out of town river clean-up team how he and others had joined in the search for Stacey Peterson. Together they talked about how a fall flood may make scouring the shoreline again worthwhile.

"I said if you guys are going to look for it, if you're going to keep your eyes open to look on shore and they said they would switch their efforts to shoreline efforts on the shore and they did and here we are four days later and they found something. So hopefully someone's family can get closure here," said Ben.

"We're not identifying whether or not it's male or female. It would be very premature to do that nor are we making an attempt to associate with any current investigation. It would be very premature," said Master Sgt. Tom Burek, Illinois State Police.

Fairly quickly, forensics experts should be able to determine the person's height, body type and if it's a woman, whether she had children. Dental records and DNA will also be tested.

While it the remains could be those of virtually any missing person, for the families of missing mothers Stacey Peterson and Lisa Stebic, the discovery brings hope tinged with fear.

"It's pretty much quiet anticipation but we've been through this situation before so we've learned not to be too anxious about the situation," said Pam Bosco, Peterson family spokesman.

"The not knowing is what's worse. And frankly it would be such a relief if it was Lisa, just to know that we could put her to rest," said Melanie Greenberg, Lisa Stebic's cousin.

Resident sees blue barrel

About a mile downstream from where those remains were found there a blue barrel was found along the riverbank.

Chopper 7HD took pictures of it on Wednesday evening after a resident told ABC7 that she first saw the container on Sunday.

On Monday, Michelle Williams says she saw the barrel again and emailed a picture of it to police.

A blue barrel is of interest because Drew Peterson's stepbrother claims he helped Peterson remove a blue barrel from his home and feared it contained the body of Stacy Peterson.

"A blue barrel in a river -- I would think -- people would want to know about --especially the police," said Michelle Williams.

State police have searched for -- and found -- blue barrels on several different occasions. None has been linked to the case.


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